The Triumph Dolomite Club - Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:42 pm 
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I thought it was about time I set up a thread to cover the restoration of my 1980 Dolomite Sprint. I'll provide some background here though it may still be a while before I have more news.

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I bought MWU 773V in November 2003, attracted by the cheap price, colour and relative speed. The previous owner had spent several thousand pounds on the car at a well known West Country 'specialist' which included some new panel work and a respray. This initial restoration took place in 1996-97 after which the car was pressed into every day service until I took ownership.

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When I took delivery of the car it had a few months left on the MOT and a rather tatty passenger side sill. I decided to get this seen to and had the outer sill replaced at a place in Rugeley. I was never really that happy with the work that was carried out, the fit was wrong and they pursueded me to have it painted body coloured which is OK but not quite right.

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Though outwardly the car looks OK as the years have gone on it became increasingly obvious that the car was really quite tatty underneath. Holes started to appear in places like jacking points, sills, chassis legs etc. I had these patched up as best as I could afford but the car has now been off the road since 2008. I figured that it really deserved a full restoration and that it was better to wait and do the job properly rather than bodge it and have to do it again. The main areas for concern on the shell are:

Sills - Both inner sills around the jacking points are pretty shot. Evidence of much bodgery around the drivers side on in particular. Passenger side sill reinforcer is disintegrated and is structurally questionable following the fitment of the sill in 2004 (above)

Chassis legs - these have been patched, the mounting holes for the subframe are decidedly crusty and some muppet has squashed them with poor jacking

Headlamp mount panels - Held in by witchcraft, needs replacing

Footwells - passenger side is seemingly homemade, partially filler, partially biscuit tin leaving no original shape whatsoever. The drivers one is not great either and would need replacing.

Boot floor - has a big hole in where there is a seam and also has several poor quality path repairs to it.

A pillars - usual rust to the rain channels

Doors - door bottoms have been replaced at some point. There's the usual BK poor fitment to the passenger side rear door and the skins on the seams are bubbling causing the paint to crack and rust.

On the plus side the wings are OK save for the joint with the front valance and also the roof is OK, well apart from the nasty pop up sunroof.

I will post some pics of the grot on the old shell at some point so you can see that appearences can be deceptive.

Having decided a full restoration was the way to go I set about collecting bits I would need. I'm no body expert or welder but it's clear that the car would need quite a few panels to remove the rot. Finding quality original panels is difficult and expensive but I was working on the principle that this would pay dividends in terms of the finished project.

My original plan was to restore the existing shell using parts collected and this was due to start this time last year but unfortunately I was made redundant and Dolomite's took a back seat. However late last year many of you will know I was fortunate enough to find and take delivery of an unused factory bodyshell. It wasn't cheap but has saved me a lot of money in welding costs not to mention total originality in terms of the structural integrety of the shell. I can also legitimately use the shell without fear of the DVLA confiscating my registration plate. Think of it as a heritage shell you'd use on an MGB.

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The plan now is to use this shell to restore my Sprint. I'll be starting off my cleaning the 'new' shell. It's been stored for 30 years and has some surface rust on it. I'll almost certainly be sent to be chemically cleaned before being e-coated which will help to provide an enhanced level of rustproofing and form a good starting point to begin the preparations for painting. The shell will be painted in it's original colour, Vermillion and then the fun begins.

Mechanically the engine in the original car has always driven really well, pulling strongly and has I'm sure got a hotter than standard cam in it. The engine and gearbox will be stripped down and rebuilt. Hopefully there will be no significant problems there save a little wear in the bores. The engine is the original unit though has had new rings and a rebuilt head at some point. It has 122k miles on it. Gearbox wise it leaks, a lot and the overdrive is a bit iffy. It too will be rebuilt. Rear axle is nice and quiet but also leaks a lot.

I plan to fit a new remanufactured wiring loom to the car as it'll be easier than breaking the old car down to get to it. Fully reconditioned suspension and running gear will be fitted and a revived interior will also be fitted all using NOS parts i've been collecting for the last few years. Currently the car has lowered suspension and a sports exhaust, still deciding whether to go totally standard or whether to modify slightly and run with a slightly lowered suspension.

It'll certainly look fantastic when the project is complete and I hope for it to be considered one of the best around when it's done.

Sorry there is not much else to report right now but expect the shell to go away in the next 6 weeks or so to start it's journey from spare part to new car. I'll report back then.

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Mark

1980 Dolomite Sprint project using brand new shell
1993 Mazda Eunos Roadster JDM S-Special Type II
2015 BMW 118d Sport


Last edited by SprintMWU773V on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Best of luck with the rebuild Mark. Looking forward to plenty of pic's as you progress.. Vermillion is such a nice colour 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:39 pm 
Been looking forward to reading about this one.

Please keep the updates and progress pictures coming Mark, and the best of British to you. :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Quote:
Been looking forward to reading about this one.
moi aussi. =D>

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Sprintless for the first time in 35+ years. :boggle2:

2007 Porsche Boxster S


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:23 pm 
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goodluck mark :thumbsup:

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Triumph Dolomite Sprint white 1973 11,800 mls
Triumph Dolomite 1850 auto ice blue 1974 5,900 mls
Triumph Toledo Honeysuckle 1974 2,300mls
Triumph Toledo Mallard 1973 13,200 mls
Triumph Dolomite Sprint 1973 mimosa VA28
Triumph Dolomite Sprint 1973 VA138
Triumph Dolomite Sprint 1973 mimosa VA291 AutoCar Long Term Testcar
Triumph Dolomite 1500se 1979 80 mls
Triumph Dolomite 1500hl 1977 67 MLS


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:22 am 
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On you go Mark, if I can help at all I'm not so far away.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:20 am 
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Well after much deliberation and searching for a sprayer I have finally found one it would seem. I've courted several painters but so many of them were just that bit too far away which of course adds to my costs and faff of travelling to view the progress. Actually trying to find anyone interested in the job has proved surprisingly difficult. I visited Tony at Moorland Classic Cars nr Leek yesterday to view some of his handywork. A really lively workshop awaited me full of a variety of classics from a 1930's Cord, several E-types, a vintage Cadillac to be used in the Peking to Paris run as well as a Mk1 Escort Mexico, RS2000 and a BMW Diesel! All were either completed concours projects or were in for restoration. Much evidence of proper fabrication and welding to be seen as well as a number of time served people who appeared to know what they are doing. I visited the paint booth where an e-type was in guide coat was just being flatted down prior to painting. Attention to detail seemed very good. There was one outside too which was painted by them 20 years ago and it still looked as good as new even in the rain.

The place was a real hive of activity and as such I am now going to have to wait a little longer till I can get the shell in for painting which is liekly now to be September! Still hopefully it will be worth the wait as the work I've seen looks very good and certainly seems reasonably priced.

So alas not much actual activity to report right now.

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Mark

1980 Dolomite Sprint project using brand new shell
1993 Mazda Eunos Roadster JDM S-Special Type II
2015 BMW 118d Sport


Last edited by SprintMWU773V on Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:01 pm 
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Future Club member hopefully!
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Ooft, if they have that Cord still in there next time, I'd love a picture!
Dream car material!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:58 pm 
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September is no time at all, well worth that extra wait by the sound of your description. Are you going to have it pickled & e-coated?

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1978 Pageant Sprint - the rustomite, 1972 Spitfire IV - sprintfire project, 1968 Valencia GT6 II - little Blue, 1980 Vermillion 1500HL - resting. 1974 Sienna 1500TC, Mrs Weevils big brown.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Hi Mark

You will not be disappointed with the quality of the work from Moorland Classic Cars. They do an outstanding job. Tony's brother Martin had an early Mimosa Sprint for his first car a few years back. It was stunning, and part of the reason I bought my first Sprint.

Good luck with the project.

Tom.

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1979 Carmine Dolomite Sprint
1974 Saphire Dolomite Sprint (Soon to be tastefully modified)
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:04 pm 
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We did discuss his brothers car which ended up going to Holland and was featured in a magazine over there. September will certainly come around and all being well I should be able to get it picked and coated too now SPL are seemingly able to provide this service again.

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Mark

1980 Dolomite Sprint project using brand new shell
1993 Mazda Eunos Roadster JDM S-Special Type II
2015 BMW 118d Sport


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:59 pm 
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So, what happens to the old shell? Phase II?

Seems too good to loose despite what you say...


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:22 am 
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The old shell is still attached to the rest of the car which is on my drive. It can be made acceptable and legal without too much bother but it would be difficult and expensive to build up to the standard i'm looking for.

The old shell will be available for sale next year once I have stripped various bits off of it including the runing gear and interior. I'm planning on fitting a new loom so that may come with the shell as a bonus so watch this space. Whether or not I choose to remove some key items like the front panel or wings depends on how much the shell is worth/how much I am offered.It should be used to help keep other Dollys on the road ideally. If someone wants the whole shell then that's up to them and what they do with it is not my business. It's unlikely that it will be taken away for scrap.

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Mark

1980 Dolomite Sprint project using brand new shell
1993 Mazda Eunos Roadster JDM S-Special Type II
2015 BMW 118d Sport


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Finally a date is set for the stripping and coating of my shell. Wednesday 11th April 2012! The countdown begins.

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Mark

1980 Dolomite Sprint project using brand new shell
1993 Mazda Eunos Roadster JDM S-Special Type II
2015 BMW 118d Sport


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Keep the updates coming Mark, really keen to see how this comes on. Would've loved to spend some time nattering when I called by the other week, M62 traffic has a lot to answer for :(

Sean

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